Cole DeBardelaben, a sophomore information systems major from Montgomery, has established a foundation scholarship called the Robert “Cole” DeBardelaben Scholarship.
The scholarship is open to students who are current recipients of Troy University’s Millennium Scholarship.
According to DeBardelaben, the Millennium Scholarship covers all the basics such as tuition and room and board, but items like books, class fees, lab fees, etc. are not covered.
Because of this, DeBardelaben was inspired to create the Robert “Cole” DeBardelaben Scholarship, designed to help those students who need additional funds beyond what the Millennium Scholarship provides.
“As a Millennium Scholar, I know the struggles students have to go through to pay for those extra things,” DeBardelaben said. “I think that is a way I can make an impact on someone’s life.
“My motivation behind starting my scholarship while currently attending Troy is the feeling that if I have been given something, I shouldn’t wait until a later date. I should give as I receive,” DeBardelaben said.
“I hope that other students will be motivated to understand the importance of giving back while receiving when they hear my story, because all of us who attend Troy are benefitting from receiving an excellent education.”
According to DeBardelaben, there are many different ways for students to give back to the university.
“You can help fund existing scholarships by buying a Troy car tag or even by participating in different activities on campus such as Campus Kitchens or the Conversation Partners program,” DeBardelaben said. “No matter how small your contribution is, it makes something big when combined with others.”
DeBardelaben intends to expand the number of recipients once he graduates and gets a job.
“Cole is setting a wonderful example by ‘paying it forward’ not only for his classmates, but for the 140,000 Troy alumni found around the world,” Chancellor Jack Hawkins said. “Cole has taken to heart the biblical admonition, ‘to whom much is given much is expected’… he is a true Trojan.”
According to Hawkins, this scholarship is unique in that it is the first foundation scholarship to be endowed by a current Troy student.
“I encourage every scholarship recipient to follow Cole’s example—today or when financial circumstances allow them to support their alma mater. We will go from good to great when our graduates support Troy with their donations,” Hawkins said.
Hawkins said he also hopes that scholarship recipients appreciate the fact that one of their peers made financial sacrifices to make their road a bit easier, thus encouraging them to strive even harder for academic excellence.
“I believe every dollar in scholarships that students can earn is precious, especially in an age when average student loan debt in the United States is approximately $30,000 and overall student debt is $1.3 trillion,” Hawkins said.
He said that he is proud of DeBardelaben and that he has presented himself as an extraordinary young man in terms of humanity.
Foundation scholarships such as the Robert “Cole” DeBardelaben Scholarship play an instrumental role in assisting students in financing their education.
Katie Little, a junior public accounting major from Goshen, is a recipient of the Lance Robert McLendon Scholarship, a foundation scholarship for students pursuing a degree in the business field.
“I feel extremely grateful that Mr. and Mrs. McLendon believed in me enough to award to me this scholarship,” Little said. “It takes truly special people to take the time and invest their hard-earned money into people they have never met before.”
According to Little, foundation scholarships are important to students because they fund a substantial amount of the students’ college expenses, making college more affordable.
“Such scholarships allow for us to worry more about studying for classes and less about affording them,” Little said. “I hope one day I can make a difference in someone’s life like Mr. and Mrs. McLendon have made in mine.”
According to Troy’s website, foundation scholarships are scholarships endowed by alumni and donated to the University, made available to Troy Campus students only.
Each applicant is allowed to apply for three foundation scholarships, but the student will be chosen for only one.
The listing of the 2016-2017 Foundation Scholarships will be available during the first week of February 2017.
For more information, visit http://www.troy.edu/scholarships/undergraduate/troy-scholarships.html.